Another blow for dietary supplements – mainly the ones that try to provide the health benefits found in whole foods in a simple little pill – and another reason why some supplements may not deliver what is promised.
A major phytochemical called sulforaphane, found in cruciferous vegetables, is associated with many health benefits. Studies have indicated that sulforaphane, may help to detoxify carcinogens, and also activate tumor suppressor genes to help prevent certain cancers.
Broccoli is often the most valued of the cruciferous vegetable family and has been studied the most. The key process in broccoli is that in its natural form, it contains an enzyme called myrosinase that is necessary to break down the phytochemical glucosinate into sulforaphane and erucin. Most supplements do not contain this enzyme.
And not only do you need to eat the whole foods including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale, you have to go easy on cooking them for the optimum benefits. This is not always the case since the form of folic acid in supplement form is better absorbed than the form found in foods. Additionally, some fat-soluble vitamins are better absorbed when foods are cooked rather than in the raw form. But in the case of broccoli, the answer is that the whole foods themselves are the best bet.
Without this enzyme found in the whole food, a study found that the body actually absorbs five times less of one important compound and eight times less of another. When broccoli is cooked at high temperatures, the same effects occur – its health values decrease considerably. The new study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and was supported by the National Institute of Health.
Eat your vegetables, especially broccoli.
- Cruciferous Cousins (foodworksblog.wordpress.com)